The Open: Magical Morikawa wins Claret Jug at Royal St George's

By Sports Desk July 18, 2021

Collin Morikawa produced a stunning final round to win The Open by two strokes from Jordan Spieth at Royal St George's.

The 2020 US PGA Championship winner added a second major to his list of honours in only his eighth appearance in such tournaments, with this his debut at the oldest of golf's four headline events.

His blemish-free 66 on Sunday ensured he overturned the one-stroke overnight lead that Louis Oosthuizen had held, while Spieth closed with the same score as he came up just short.

Morikawa nailed a lengthy birdie putt on the 14th, just after Spieth's run of four gains in four holes around the turn had cut the gap to one, and the 24-year-old never looked back as he sealed the prize on 15 under.


Spieth, the 2017 champion at Royal Birkdale, and Oosthuizen, who triumphed at St Andrews in 2010, had each been chasing a second Claret Jug.

But Morikawa showed nerves of steel as he refused to wilt in the sunshine on the Kent coast, the American averaging 1.5 putts per greens in regulation.

He needed to hit such a high level to keep Spieth at bay, his compatriot rallying from two over for the day after six holes to close at 13 under.

Oosthuizen endured the frustration of finishing as runner-up at the US PGA Championship and the U.S. Open this year and he suffered more disappointment following a closing 71.

Pre-tournament favourite Jon Rahm wrapped things up in style with a 66 and he will return to the world number one spot next week, displacing Dustin Johnson. 

Reigning champion Shane Lowry finished at six under, while Rory McIlroy closed with a 71 to wrap up a low-key outing at even par.


Morikawa's approach shot on the 14th was short and left him with a long uphill putt for birdie on a par five that was playing at a generous average of 4.6.

Spieth was on the charge and momentum looked to shift in the three-time major winner's favour, but Morikawa turned a potential negative into an overwhelming positive with one decisive swipe of the putting blade.

It was the point at which the engravers may as well have started putting his name on the silverware.


Shane Lowry: "I really enjoyed the whole week. It was an amazing experience. Walking down the last hole today was one of the coolest things you'll ever get to do, and I got to do it."

Rory McIlroy: "For me at the minute it's just the process of trying to work my way back to the sort of form and the sort of the level that I know I can play at."

Brooks Koepka: "I like coming over here and playing links golf. It's always a bunch of fun, and I've always said that it's the one tournament a year where the fans actually know what a good shot is."


- Louis Oosthuizen's last three major results are now tied second (US PGA Championship), second (U.S. Open), and tied third (The Open).

- Shane Lowry's failure to retain the Claret Jug means no player has successfully defended the honour at Royal St George's since Harry Vardon in 1899.

- Germany's Matthias Schmid won the silver medal for low amateur after finishing two over par.

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    Europe held off a spirited display from the United States in Sunday’s singles to clinch a memorable 16.5-11.5 triumph in Rome.

    Tommy Fleetwood’s 3&1 win over Rickie Fowler ultimately sealed victory, one which had looked likely since Europe’s 4-0 whitewash in the foursomes on Friday morning.

    Donald said: “Pretty emotional. It’s been a long process, it’s been an amazing journey and I enjoyed this one.

    “It was stressful. The US put up a fight today and hats off to them. Unbelievable, but I’m so proud of my 12 guys.

    “We formed a bond from day one and they gave me everything. They trusted me and they delivered for me.

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    Asked where it ranked in his career, Donald said: “This is the best. This is why the Ryder Cup is so special to me and these guys because of these moments.

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    “I gave them a good culture to succeed, hopefully I laid out a good plan in how I thought they were going to win and then it was staying out of the way. They had to play well and they did the job, I’m happy they trusted me.

    “In historic Rome we made history today.”

    Donald believes his team proved the doubters wrong following their 19-9 defeat in America two years ago, saying: “Not many people gave us a chance after Whistling Straits.

    “We were big underdogs, we started to show some form in the last six months and I couldn’t be happier with with the team I’ve got and I think these guys will be around for a long time.”

    Fleetwood added: “I (feel) relief, pride, joy. I’m proud of everyone who has been involved this week and am proud I am just one of the people who gets to play a role in what we came here to do.

    “Luke is amazing. We are all so proud of him. From when this whole process started he has been so good.

    “The way he has been this week has been phenomenal and we look at Luke on another level. I’m so pleased we could do it for him.”

    Robert MacIntyre closed out a 2&1 victory over Wyndham Clark while Shane Lowry lost the last hole to halve with Jordan Spieth.

    Lowry told Sky Sports: “It’s a dream come true for me, it’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve in this game.

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    McIlroy’s singles victory over Sam Burns ensured he won four matches in the biennial contest for the first time as Luke Donald’s side inflicted a seventh straight away defeat on the United States.

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    “This is the best. This is why the Ryder Cup is so special to me and these guys, because of these moments,” Donald said.

    Viktor Hovland had put the first point on the board with victory over Collin Morikawa before Jon Rahm birdied the 18th to snatch half a point from the opening contest with world number one Scottie Scheffler.

    Patrick Cantlay then held off a battling Justin Rose to narrow the gap, but McIlroy defeated World Match Play champion Sam Burns 3&1 and Tyrrell Hatton beat Open champion Brian Harman 3&2 to take Europe to within half a point of glory.

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    Fleetwood duly completed the win and Robert MacIntyre also defeated US Open champion Wyndham Clark before Shane Lowry halved his match with Jordan Spieth to make the final score 16.5 to 11.5.

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    McIlroy won his first three matches at Marco Simone but lost the final fourball on Saturday evening and was involved in an angry exchange with Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava over his celebrations on the 18th green which spilled over into the car park.

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    Rahm admitted he was extremely aware of the significance of his match against Scheffler, who had suffered a 9&7 thrashing alongside Koepka in the Saturday foursomes.

    “I told myself I wasn’t going to look but it’s hard not to see the scoreboards,” said Rahm, who two-putted from 90 feet for birdie on the 18th after Scheffler hit a clumsy chip over the green.

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    Here the PA news agency takes a look at some of the best images from the finale.

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